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Pharmacy Heritage

The Iowa Pharmacy Foundation’s Commitment to Preserving Pharmacy History in Iowa
The IPA Foundation was established in 1960. The Foundation believes that to progress into the future, it is important to understand the past. Over the years, Iowa pharmacists have gained national recognition for their reputation as progressive leaders. From the few early Iowa pharmacists who developed our profession, to the thousands of professionals today, pharmacists in Iowa have utilized changing times as an opportunity to enhance leadership in the profession.

To preserve the rich heritage that is the foundation for Iowa pharmacy’s progressive traditions, the foundation continues to support Iowa pharmacy heritage initiatives. It is Iowa pharmacy’s way of honoring past efforts and serves to remind us of the strength of pharmacy tradition - a strength on which to build and prosper through the challenges of a new era.

The Schafer Drug Store

For over 20 years, IPA Foundation supported the Douglass Pharmacy Museum at the Iowa State Fairgrounds. This model of a real Postville, Iowa pharmacy offered hundreds of thousands of fair visitors an opportunity to view artifacts and treasures of Iowa’s rich pharmacy heritage.

In 1994, the Foundation moved this display to the Schafer Drug Store at Living History Farms in Des Moines, Iowa. The Schafer Drug Store is named after George Schafer, the Iowa Pharmacy Association’s first president, to honor his service to the profession as well as the 338 pharmacists who organized the Iowa Pharmacy Association (then known as the Iowa State Pharmaceutical Association) in 1880. Schafer was also instrumental in the establishment of the Iowa Board of Pharmacy which created the first real regulation of pharmacy practice in Iowa.

The Schafer Drug Store is a living museum based on pharmacy practice in 1875 and tells the story of pharmacy’s heritage and how the practice of pharmacy has evolved into a dynamic health care profession. As the foundation broke ground for construction on the Schafer Drug Store on July 17, 1994, in Walnut Hill, Iowa, Jerry Karbeling, Heritage Project Chairperson spoke on the development of the pharmacy exhibit: "...As we tell pharmacy’s historical story here, we must keep our dynamic profession moving ahead, so that we will not be just an exhibit of historical interest." Pharmacists from across Iowa gathered on May 10, 1995, as the IPA Foundation and Living History Farms hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony to officially open the Schafer Drug Store to the many visitors who will frequent it in the years to come.

Transitions Through Innovation

The Iowa Pharmacists Association and Iowa Pharmacy: 1945-1997
On two occasions, the Iowa Pharmacy Association Foundation has commissioned the writing of commemorative volumes describing the history of pharmacy practice and the growth of the profession. These historical documents vividly capture memorable events and personalities that have shaped the profession of pharmacy within the state. Iowa pharmacy is rich with stories of its practitioners and leaders and the activities of organized pharmacy. Transitions Through Innovation – The Iowa Pharmacists Association and Iowa Pharmacy: 1945-1997, chronicles Iowa pharmacy’s last 50 years of the twentieth century.